The Good Butler

The Good Butler

A pastor told the story of his past visit to a stately mansion built in the late 18th century in Williamsburg, Virginia, that was presently being operated as a historic site. From the moment he entered the house, he recalled how he was struck by its utter magnificence. Indeed, the beauty that he was exposed to in this palatial dwelling made an enduring impression on him. From the sweeping staircases to the marble floors to the sculptured reliefs on the walls and ceilings, the place just had this dramatic aesthetic that conveyed an extraordinary grandness.

Then he noticed a small room just off to the side of the main entrance and he walked over to give it a closer inspection, expecting to once again be taken aback at the seemingly endless beauty within the mansion walls. However, as he walked through the small entrance he was met with a rather drab room, dimly lit, with dingy white plaster walls. It was furnished very minimally with a small bed, an old table stuffed off in the corner, and a rickety wooden chair. It also had one large window which looked out upon the entrance to the estate.

Confused by the amazing contrast between this room and the rest of the house, he asked one of the site employees about it. He then learned that this room had been the quarters of the house’s butler. From this location, the butler, among his many other responsibilities, could keep an eye on the front of the house and, upon seeing visitors approach, quickly walk to the entrance and be prepared to gracefully invite them into the master’s house when they arrived.

The guests note in the butler’s every action, indeed in every interaction with them, a display that points directly back to the master he represents. The response of the visitors to the trustworthy, well-trained, faithful butler upon seeing this display and looking upon the inner beauty of the obviously well-kept house would not, then, be “What a splendid butler!” but rather,

 “Wow, what a great and wonderful Master!!”

You see, a butler lives in the master’s house.

He uses the master’s resources

He does the master’s work.

A good butler recognizes that all that surrounds him belongs to the Master, and he makes the best use of the Master’s things to serve him. He doesn’t do it to bring praise for himself just as he doesn’t seek to bring attention to himself through the pursuit of lavish accommodations and a materialistic lifestyle.

The work of a good and faithful butler is entirely and rightly focused on bringing honor and glory to the Master.


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